Celebrating students’ work

Caitlyn Lear, Staff writer

On April 26, the Student Research Committee is holding Mercyhurst’s annual Illumination student research symposium. The event will be held in the Student Union Great Room from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

“Illumination is our campus-wide annual student scholarship symposium,” said Gerard Barron, Psy.D. “It’s our opportunity to showcase the quality and diversity of experiential learning projects that are carried out by Mercyhurst students each and every year.”

Students are encouraged to share the projects they develop over their time at Mercyhurst. All majors and academic years are encouraged to participate in the symposium.

“These projects may take many forms, from research to service projects and internship experiences, as well as art projects or performances,” Barron said.

Presenting at the event is a helpful experience for students that are involved.

Presentations range all over the spectrum of topics and interests.

“I presented my research project with my group from Research Design and Statistical Analysis II,” said Kevin Ball, senior Criminal Justice and Psychology double major. “We did a replication study looking at video game violence and its influence on aggression.”

Most students will have some sort of poster presentation that others can look at and ask questions about.

“At the event itself, we displayed our poster board explaining background research, our procedure, results and what the findings could lead to,” said Ball. “We answered questions others had about our study.”

Not only is it a way for students to showcase their work, but to gain professional presentation skills that can be transferred to any field of study.

“It was an awesome way to prepare for a career in the world of academia. Not only did I learn skills about poster creating, I was able to present my work to other students and faculty,” Emma Preston, senior Biology and Psychology double major, said.

Illumination can be a stepping stone for larger presentations and conferences, as many students will have the opportunity to participate in these events over their time in undergraduate and graduate schooling.

“The project I presented my sophomore year I was able to take to a national psychology conference (APS Boston) in May of 2017, and I’m really very happy that I was able to present at Illumination first because I felt very prepared,” Preston said.

All students and professors are welcome to attend and look at the projects fellow classmates have worked on.

“I think it’s a good way for Mercyhurst students to show off the work they put into their research or other projects, and you get the chance to see what other students are working on,” Ball said.

Professors also get to see their students show their skills in other classes and subjects as well.

“I presented a psychology research project on the Effects of Video Games on Aggression at the 2017 Illumination,” said Natalie Merucci, senior Intelligence Studies and Psychology double major.
“My favorite part was when professors from both the departments I am a part of came to talk to me at the same time, and realized they both had me in class,” Merucci said.

By participating in Illumination, students are able to build both their personal résumé and confidence by partaking in this university-wide showcase. After working hard on a project of their own, this symposium comes as a gratifying reward.